One such letter is from Ana Santos Villanueva of Bogotá, Columbia who writes that seeing the courage and dedication of so many athletes has renewed her motivation to prepare for the temple. Her teenage sons Ricardo and Jorge were initially not as inspired, but Sister Villanueva reported that they were clearly excited by the efforts of the female beach volleyball athletes.
“When I asked them if they could see how those athletes work and struggle,” noted Sister Villanueva, “they could hardly talk, they were so moved.” When Sister Villanueva asked if they also felt the inspirational burnings of the Spirit, “they nodded in reverent affirmation.”
Sister Ashley James, who is currently serving a full-time mission in Ames, Iowa, wrote to the First Presidency about “watching the entire opening ceremony in the home of the ward mission leader. It reminded me of how many countries there are in the world and how there are people just like me who are, right now, spreading the gospel’s good news.”
She elaborated on how all of the different events taught her about working with different investigators. “I’m glad that I watched all of the badminton and the judo events, and not just sports that everyone knows,” explained Sister James, “as those events showed me how sometimes you have to be patient and sometimes you have to pull and grab, spiritually, when doing the Lord’s work.” Sister James concluded that, “it took a while for my companion to understand, but I was finally able to explain to her how synchronized swimming teaches about cheerfulness and fencing explains how Nephi killed Laban.”
Many members reported that the Games inspired new resolutions. Typical of these is a letter from Todd Lane of Oklahoma City. A life-time member and father of three, Brother Lane wrote that “after seen Gabby Douglas and Oscar Pistorius, their dedication and hard-work, I decided that I’m sure that by the end of the year I can complete the entire Pearl of Great Price. I CAN DO IT”
Gordon Abrams of Philadelphia affirmed, in a similar vein, “this year I will be the Dream Team of home teachers! I will probably visit all my three families by December!”